By Keeyahtay Lewis
On December 1st, LA glam metal band Steel Panther made their way to Starland Ballroom. Before going to the show I listened to a lot of their songs as well as watched a lot of videos on line. I knew it was going to be a special night, but I don’t think I was fully prepared for how awesome it would be. It is 2011, but when they took the stage it felt like 1987. It was like a huge time machine transported everyone in the building back 30 years, it was pretty fantastic.
Taking the stage in a fury of hairspray and spandex, is a little hard at first to figure out how serious they are. They manage to mock and play tribute to a decade that long since passed. Singer Michael Starr walked out in a long sequenced red jacket, aviator shades, spandex pants and a smile, clearly enjoying himself. He looked very much like Vince Neil. Bass player Lexxi Foxxx comes to stage with a can of aqua-net and a hand mirror to make sure that his hair and lip gloss are always on point. Often during the show he will adjust both. Guitar player Satchel and dummer Stix Zadina also played their parts well.
With lyrics like, “My heart belongs to you, but my dong is community property” I don’t think anyone was surprised by how wild the show got at times. What did surprise me though was how genuine the guys seemed, and how hard they worked to make sure everyone had a good time. During the second song, Starr reached down into the photo pit, grabbed my hand and pulled me on stage. I shot the rest of the show from the stage. The band often looked to me to make sure I was getting great shots, and I definitely did. It reminded me of a time when bands went out of their way to connect with the fans and to connect with the photographers as well. Too often these days bands just ignore the photographers, and in some instances, do more than just ignore us. I loved that they were really going out of their way to make me feel special, along with everyone else.
Not surprisingly, they also brought up a lot of girls from the audience. Flashing, girls making out, it was all par from the course. They really wanted to make you feel like you were at the height of the 80s, a time of sex, drugs and excess. The banter was completely dirty and completely hilarious. While playing “Asian Hooker” they pulled an Asian girl from the audience. During “Party All Day, Fuck All Night” a young kid charged the stage, Starr handed the microphone to him, and he completely rocked the song. “Tomorrow Night”, “Just Like Tiger Woods”, “Community Property”, “Supersonic Sex Machine”, “17 Girls In A Row”, “Gold Digging Whore”…every song was received with excitement.
At one point Lexxi Foxxx had a “Hair Solo” which basically means he stood there playing bass while Satchel and Starr crouched below him blowing his hair into the air. It was pretty hysterical. Later though Satchel broke out into a 7 minute guitar solo playing snippets of “Cat Scratch Fever”, “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, “Breaking The Law”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and other 80s classics. What made this even more impressive though is he stood behind the drums and played the bass drum parts of these songs while he played guitar. It was pretty incredible to see.
All around, the show was treated like a huge party filled with friends. It felt exactly like that. There was no disconnect between the stage and the crowd, a lot of the crowd was on the stage at various times. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that between all the ridiculousness of the band, they are certainly talented. They are not taking themselves too seriously, but the music is not a joke. They are great musicians- the guitar solos, double bass drums and vibrato were on point. The band is pretty huge, shows often filled with celebrities, and I love that I was able to see them play. Next time they are in the area, I will definitely be there. It was one of the most fun shows I have ever been too.